Motivation is something that we all need in order to stay healthy and keep exercising.

If having motivation were easy, we’d all be slim, toned and healthy from coast to coast. As you know, that’s not the case. Some people have a network of friends, family and maybe even a significant other to help them stay on track. But, if you’re like me and your family and the majority of your friends live in different states, it can be hard to get the motivation you need from others. Not to worry! You can be your own cheerleader when it comes to eating right and exercising consistently. Below are some tips to keep yourself motivated.

1) Nothing succeeds like success. It can be difficult to stay motivated if the people around you do not share your desire to be fit and healthy.  The best way to counter that is to find someone who has reached a fitness goal. If they’ve maintained the dedication it takes to reach and sustain that goal, then being around them is most likely to give you some of the motivation you need to continue.

2) Pep talks work. When I’m struggling to get those last few reps in before the glorious ” happy beep” of the interval timer goes off, I give myself a good ole fashioned pep talk. I tell myself that I CAN do three more reps or that I CAN keep my knees high all the way through. I tell myself whatever I need to hear in order to finish strong in my workout. Sometimes it’s great to hear others rally you on, but other times you can, and should, give yourself the words of encouragement needed to stay strong in your workout,

3) Give yourself some credit! When you have come a long way in your workout give yourself some credit. Whether your progress was graduating from one resistance band to a harder one, or doing all of your push-ups on your toes instead of your knees, acknowledging your progress is an important way to keep motivated. While you don’t want to have a celebratory piece of cake to mark your accomplishment, you do want to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

4) Check-in. Even though the people in your support system may live miles away, that’s no reason to check-in with them on your gains and progresses. Just having one of two phone calls a month to check-in with those who know your goals can help you keep motivated. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk about your goals and the progress you’ve made is enough to spark the fire within.

5) Get digital. Having virtual friends with the same goals is another way to seek out the motivation you need to stay encouraged. Join a social network that is focused on fitness. Better yet, create one. You can use Facebook, the Bootique Fitness Forum, Meetup or a host of other sites to create a network of dedicated individuals committed to fitness.

6) Enter a challenge. Really, there is nothing like a challenge to spark motivation in some people. Find a fitness buddy, create a friendly challenge and, if you can, include a reward for the challenge winner. This always works well in our boot camps. When we create a challenge to give our clients an extra boost of motivation, we always see their results soar!

7) Pets rule. If you don’t have someone to always work out with, why not involve your pets? Dog lovers can hit the various dog parks in San Diego for a run or hike with their beloved friends. You can get creative and play frisbee or other games with your pet. It’s good for them and it’s even better for you!

8) Keep a journal. A key part of the program at Bootique Fitness involves clients keeping a food journal. I know it’s been a great help to some of the clients to keep track of what they eat, when they eat and the reason why they eat. A journal to monitor both exercise and food intake is a great way not only to keep motivated, but to pinpoint specific areas that are working well or that need to be changed.

9) Involve yourself. Working out alone can be, well, lonely. It’s not easy to get up and go to the gym day after day if it’s just you and the machines. A better way to work out is in pairs or groups. If you attend a local gym, make friends and decide on meet up times to work out together. If you have interests in activities that don’t involve a gym, like hiking, then look online for other people that share your interest. You can also invite co-workers to workout with you. Whatever you do, involve yourself and you’ll watch your motivation level increase.

10) The Office. If you have co-workers like those on the hit show The Office, you may not want to invite them to work out with you. Thankfully, most of us don’t have co-workers like that. While you may not have life-long friends where you work, your co-workers can be a big support to your fitness goals. If you can find even one person to take a lunchtime walk with or meet you at the gym after work, you’re more likely to stay on track and keep motivated. You might even be a motivation to someone else!

11) Treat yourself. Don’t treat yourself with Ben&Jerry’s. Do treat yourself with incentives to keep working hard. Every time you meet a weekly goal or order something healthy while dining out, put a set amount of money to the side. You’ll find that after a few months of all the hard work in your fitness goals and with your savings, you will have a small fortune. Both of which will help you retain the motivation you need to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

12) Reap the rewards. If you’re not motivated by cash or don’t have enough to spare, it’s okay. You can find other incentives to keep yourself motivated. Things such as a pedicure, buying a new pair of earrings, etc are large enough to keep you motivated but small enough not to break the bank.

Remember, motivation is key to reaching your fitness goals. With these tips in tow, you will be on your way to maintaining your fitness goals for life!